At the Main Stage on Thursday at Techsauce Global Summit 2019, Audrey Tang, Digital Minister of Taiwan delivered a speech on “Giving Voices the Power to Change Nations: AI, Democracy, and Social Listening” where she reminded the audience that governments are also capable of giving voices to citizens and that social listening can be a powerful tool to improve policies and allow people to dictate the future of their country.
Open Office Hours, Encouraging Innovation
Audrey, as Taiwan’s first-ever Digital Minister, introduced a radical idea of keeping open office hours one day a week to encourage citizens to present innovations and ideas, with many projects beginning in this way already being carried out.
“One of the projects we had was the self-driving tricycle,” revealed Audrey. “With projects like this, we would call it a ‘co-creation’ as it would lower people’s fear of emerging technologies.”
She also argued that AI, instead of artificial intelligence, should stand for assistive intelligence, as the technology can greatly help people and improve many aspect of their life.
Testing Ideas through the Regulatory Sandbox
Audrey also said that due to new technologies like the hashtag, people are now empowered to organize their own movements with governments becoming the facilitator of enabler instead.
She revealed that in Taiwan, startups looking to experiment with a new idea or solution may file a sandbox application that will allow them to try out a new technology for one year, whether it is a new platform, a FinTech solution, or an unmanned vehicle. Successful ideas would be regulated, and Audrey emphasized that with this model, there are no limitations for possibilities.
According to Audrey, Taiwan has been letting its citizens participate in social dialogues to express their opinions on various topics.
“The hard question is how society will decide what is the norm, and what regulations should be,” she said. “The government now lets people choose whether they agree or disagree with certain ideas, thus, we receive a rough consensus from the people. We don’t provide a reply button so we don’t receive trolls during these votes.”
Audrey also talked about the g0v (pronounced Gov Zero) movement, where citizens can create shadow websites for government portals. Should they receive approval from the government, the websites will be adopted, as Audrey explained that the Taiwanese government has a philosophy of “If you can’t beat them, join them”.
With numerous initiatives spearheaded by the people and the government of Taiwan, Audrey still reminded the audience that humans should always come first in this rapidly-changing world, urging them to think of buzzwords in terms of how it will improve our society and our relationships.
“When we hear the internet of things, let’s make it the internet of beings; when we hear virtual reality, let’s make it shared reality; when we hear machine learning, let’s make it collaborative learning, when we hear user experience, let’s make it human experience, and when we hear that the singularity is here, let’s make it the plurality,” concluded Audrey.
This article is written by Ms. Pimsirinuch Borsub, editor of Techsauce Global Summit 2019.